Guide To: Medusa, The Gorgon Dota heroine, The Guide

IPB Image

Guide To: Medusa, The Gorgon

Introduction - AKA - a rant you probably will not read...

Some have been turned off to the idea of playing with Medusa ever since she was nerfed a while back. It is true that she has become weaker, but that doesn't mean she has lost all appeal as a hero. Lets look at some pros and cons.

-Amazing farmer
-Can quickly dish out a lot of damage to many heroes on the field
-Mana shield makes her a pseudo tank, giving her survivability
-Ult is great for slowing / chasing and has low cooldown

-Limited in what items she can get
-Has a couple devastating counters (this guide will teach you how to handle them)
-Loses a lot of potential if your farming is interrupted a lot too early (especially if you die)

Medusa is a very adaptable hero and should be played as so. There is no set item build you should use when going into a game. When all 5 heroes on the other team have been picked and you hit "-ma" to review them, it will give you an idea of what abilities / items to get but ultimately you should adapt as the game goes on. Ex: If you are having trouble in a lane, getting more regen than you have planed; If you are having trouble farming an expensive item, farming a cheaper one as a stepping stone; If there are a lot of nukers / stunners, picking up a BKB; etc.

This guide will attempt to teach the reader how to unleash Medusa's true potential as a support hero/ hero killer/ pusher / farmer/ and pseudo tank all rolled into one; but most importantly - how to adapt to your situation.

Table Of Contents
Note: The color of the number matches the color of the section name, for easy navigation. You can also hit Ctrl+F, type in the full name of the section you want and hit enter. It'll take you right to it.

1.Stats, Description and Skills
2.Skill Build Overview
-Skill Build 1
-Skill Build 2
3.Item Overview
-Gold per dmg / dmg with splitshot chart
-Good Items For Medusa
-Base Build
4.Strategy/Useful Tips
-Early Game
-Mid Game
-Late Game
-Extended Splitshot Analasys/Formula
-Heros To Watch Out For
-SplitShot Tips
-The Many Uses of Purge
-Advanced Mana Sheild Analysis

1.Stats, Description and Skills


Medusa: The Naga princess was named after the legendary gorgon who turned her foes into stone. Though she hasnt developed a stoney glare, her combat skills will freeze even the strongest of fighters in submission. Her years of archery has allowed her to fire multiple arrows with keen accuracy. Manipulation of magic grants her a shield of mana to absorb physical impact. Channeling electrons within the air, she can ignite an electric spark that will jump from foe to foe. Her legendary name is well earned.


Strength: 14 + 1.85
Agility: 20 + 2.5
Intelligence 19 + 1.85
Range: 600


IPB ImageSplit Shot
Medusa magically splits her shot into three arrows. These arrows deal a lower percent of her normal damage.

Level 1 - 45% damage
Level 2 - 55% damage
Level 3 - 65% damage
Level 4 - 75% damage

Ahh, the skill that makes Medusa what she is - a great farmer. This is also what makes Medusa valuable to her team in organized games. At level 4, you can have a damage output of 225%. So that means we need to get cost effective items that will boost your overall damage when using split shot.

Items that will and will not work with split shot:

Lifesteal: Yes, but only the main arrow will steal life

Diffusal/Manta: No. When you have split shot off you will burn mana, but when it is on you will not.

Skadi: Yes, but only the main arrow will slow

Maelstrom: Yes, but when you get the lightning you will only shoot one arrow

Burize: See maelstrom

MKB: See burize

Desolator: No, not at all. If you get desolator it won't even let you toggle split shot on.

Sange: Will shoot only one arrow when you maim

IPB ImageChain Lightning
Hurls a bolt of damaging lightning at a target enemy that jumps to nearby enemies. Each jump deals less damage.

Level 1 - 75 damage, jumps 3 times.
Level 2 - 150 damage, jumps 5 times.
Level 3 - 225 damage, jumps 7 times.
Level 4 - 290 damage, jumps 9 times.

I personally do not like getting this skill for most of my builds with Medusa. When you use medusa part of your effective HP is in your mana shield. So in effect, whenever you use this move, you are damaging yourself.

IPB ImageMana Shield
Creates a shield that absorbs 50% of the incoming damage by using Medusa's mana.

Level 1 - .75 damage per point of mana.
Level 2 - 1.25 damage per point of mana.
Level 3 - 1.5 damage per point of mana.
Level 4 - 2 damage per point of mana.

This will be your bread and butter move. Get two points in it by level three and turn it on, this is what makes Medusa such a durable agile hero.

IPB ImagePurge
Casts a powerful anti-magic buff at a target enemy unit. Slows movement and attack speeds for 5 seconds.

Level 1 - Slows speed by a factor of 2.
Level 2 - Slows speed by a factor of 3.
Level 3 - Slows speed by a factor of 5.
Deals 1000 damage to summoned units.

Nice, fast cool down slow, that goes through BKB/magic immunity, dispels buffs (Ursa's Overpower, Sven's Gods Strength), and destroys summoned units. (pesky illusions!) All in all, a very useful ability. Only get one point in it though, level 1 purge, is just as good as level 3.

2. Skill Build Overview

Skill Build 1

Level One: Stats
Level Two: Mana Shield
Level Three: Mana Shield
Level Four: Stats
Level Five: Mana Shield
Level Six: Purge
Level Seven: Mana Shield
Level Eight: Stats
Level Nine: Split Shot
Level Ten: Split Shot
Level Eleven: Split Shot
Level Twelve: Split Shot
Levels Thirteen - Twenty Five: Max out stats, then purge, then finish with chain lightning.

Comments: This is the build I use 95% of the time. The stats and mana shield are great for helping you survive and keep farming early. I usually use this build with item builds I will not have much mana regeneration in.

Skill Build 2

Level One: Chain lightning
Level Two: Mana Shield
Level Three: Chain lightning
Level Four: Mana Shield
Level Five: Chain lightning
Level Six: Purge
Level Seven: Chain lightening
Level Eight: Mana Shield
Level Nine: Mana Shield
Levels Ten - Level Twenty Five: Max Split Shot, then stats, then purge.

Comments: Good for early harassment, and possibly early frags. This is for a more offense-earlier oriented Medusa with mana regeneration builds.

3. Item Overview

Starting items can vary. If you are using a build with less mana regeneration then branches / circlets, ROR / branches, or chichen / branches / circlets. If you are using chain early I suggest a ROB or some clarities. As far as major items go - we know alot of items will not work well with splitshot, furthermore some items are more cost efficient than others - lets take a look at a couple of items.

Gold per dmg / dmg with splitshot chart

Eagle Horn: 138 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 56 (17 each arrow)

Butterfly: 133 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 101 (31 each arrow)

Blade of Alacrity: gold per 100 dmg, dmg with splitshot: 22 (7 each arrow)

Wraith band: 83 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 13 (4 each arrow)

Demon Edge: 72 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 81 (25 each arrow)

Hammer: 67 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 58 (16 each arrow)

Claymore: 66 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 47 (14 each arrow)

Broadsword: 66 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 40 (12 each arrow)

Sacred Relic: 63 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 135 (42 each arrow)

Rapier: 31 gold per dmg, dmg with splitshot: 562 (175 each arrow)

Yes I have left out the attackspeed calculations purposely, not because I did not realize that attackspeed can equate to more damage - this much is obvious.
I left it out for two reasons
1. Because I'm a lazy bastard
2. Because attackspeed only gets really effective when you have more damage. If you are trying to increase you over all damage per second early on you should always go for straight damage over attackspeed. Hence you would want to finish burize first instead of taking crystalis/hyperstone.

As you see from the list, sacred relic is not only the most cost effective, it also gives the highest amount of damage when you turn on split shot. (besides rapier of corse, but for various reason we will not be going rapier first) Yes it will be hard farming up sacred relic at the beginning of the game if you chose to head for it first, and will take cautious playing but once you get it - it's all down hill from there. If the task of saving up for sacred relic at the start of the game is too much for you, get a smaller item as a stepping stone, then get sacred relic or a different item of your choice. Remember its all about adapting.

Good Items For Medusa

Good items for Medusa are as follows:

IPB Image
Sacred Relic
-Adds 60 damage

(Turns into)

IPB ImageRadiance
-Adds 70 damage
-40 Damage immolation
-7% Evasion

As you can see from the chart relic is the most cost effective, as well as giving the most damage, however relic only upgrades into two things - rapier and radiance. I think radiance is much more practical than rapier and will help you in your farming immensly as well as dealing dmg in team battles.

IPB ImageEye of Skadi
-Plus 25 to all stats
-Plus 200 mana
-Plus 150 life
-Frost attack

Skadi is MADE for Medusa. Think about it. Her strength and intell progression is the exact same, and both stats are good for her overall hp. Then what Medusa needs is a way to keep the enemy in one place, damage, and attackspeed. Skadi provides a slow, 25 percent attackspeed, and 25 damage. This is everything Medusa needs rolled into one.

IPB Image
-Adds 25 agility
-Adds 20 damage
-Increases attack rate by 25 percent
-25% Evasion

Again Medusa needs attackspeed and damage. Butterfly is the next cost efficient thing on our list. Its also a plus that it gives amazing attackspeed and good evasion. (as if you werent hard enough to kill already tongue.gif )

IPB ImageMaelstrom
-Adds 25 damage
-Adds 6 agility
-25% chance to release 150 damage chain lightning (3 second cooldown)

Simple, it is one of the best early game damage items you can get. With the 150 dmg lightning it is a mini-crit and it splashes helping you kill everything you got low with splitshot. Very nice item. Although it only shoots one arrow when you get the lightning effect, it is still splash damage so we will make an exception. It can always be sold very late game in favor of other items.

IPB ImageGuinsoos
-Adds 35 damage
-Adds 25 intell
-Gives 150% mana regeneration
-Gives 'hex' ability (turns unit into a sheep for 3.5 seconds)

This item is very good for Medusa. Not only does it give you mana, and mana regeneration for your mana sheild and spamming chain lightning, it also gives you a disable which helps keep the enemy in place long enough for you to dishout your damage.

IPB ImageBlack King Bar
-Adds 10 strength
-Adds 18 damage
-Gives "avitar" (10 second magic immunity)

Simple, when there are alot of nukers / stuners you will need to get this, no matter if it has been nerfed to hell or not. When you turn this on, turn split shot on, run in and attack, trust me - 10 seconds will be plenty to get all their heroes in the low orange or red late game.

IPB ImageLinken's Sphere
-Adds 15 to all stats
-Gives 6 health per second regeneration
-Gives 150% mana regeneration
-Gives "spell negation" (Will block a single target spell once every few minutes)

This is a great item for Medusa when there are stunners, but not enough to get BKB. It gives health AND mana regeneration - both of which are crucial for Medusa. +15 to all stats which adds a good chunck to Medusa's overall hp (including mana shield) and it blocks a target spell once every few minutes. Good item.

IPB ImageSoul Booster
-Gives 450 hitpoints
-Gives 400 mana
-Gives 10% mana regeneration
-Gives 1 hit health per second regeneration

Soul Booster?
This is a good item to pick up if you are not gettin a skadi/linkens and you want some health to tank. It is cheap and will give you a good chunck of both health and mana for your mana shiled. Good item and keeps up with the trend that you can effectively use both your health and mana for your total HP.

Base Build

Starting items: which were previously stated

Sacred Relic (3800)
Boots (500)
Radiance (1525)


Boots of Elvenskin (450)
Mithril Hammer (1610)
Boots (500)
Maelstrom (1250)

Gloves of Haste (610)
Power Treads (420)

Boots of Travel (2200)

(Get your BKB here if there is alot of disables/nukes/stuns)

If you are going with the chain build, or you just want another disable / mana / mana regen

Void Stone (900)
Staff of Wizardry (1000)
Robe of the Magi (450)
Eul's Scepter of Divinity

Quarter Staff (1150)
Robe of the Magi (450)
Sobi Mask (350)
Oblivion Staff
Guinsoo's Scythe of Vyse (900)

Eagle Horn (3400)
Quarter Staff (1150)
Butterfly (1400)


Ultimate Orb (2300)
Ultimate Orb (2300)
Point Booster (1200)
Eye of Skadi

4. Strategy/Useful Tips

I will assume that the player reading this is adept to DotA knowledge, such as farming, and the concepts of the game.

Early Game

Grab your start items, and head for the bottom lane on sentinel or the top lane on scourge and try to get a solo lane. If you can't don't fret, its not a big deal. Your main goal here will be to nab as many last hits on creeps as possible, while not pushing too far and staying safe. Your main goal here is to not die before getting your sacred relic. (or your maelstrom) Early game deaths, hurt and possibly destroy Medusa, so don't be too bold and try to go for early game kills. If the opportunity presents itself, purge and try to get the kill, but never chase too far. Its better to let them go heal, while letting you farm in peace. Than get the kill and also die (unless its first blood), in which case you will have a big halt in your farming. So hold down alt and look for those creeps in the read. You can even manually patrol behind your creep line if you really dont want to push far, and when the creep gets in the low red - pop 'em with a last hit.

[Chain Lightning use tip] Some times i like to get a RoB or a void stone early so i can spam some chain lightning. As a rule of thumb, if you ever have full mana, use chain lightning on an enemy and try to hit him a couple of times. In addition one way you can harass at level 6 (and possibly get early game kills) is the purge/lightning combo. If any hero laggs behind his creep wave when you have two or more creeps, and they only have one that is about to die. Run at them and purge them. Get as many hits as you can (your creeps will get some too) and right when they reach about 600 range, let them have it. If done right this can get first blood at level 6-7. Also chain is great for farming early. Hit the druid in the back a couple of times until it is low. The target the lightning on the hero in your lane if he is close. Always try to get at least one creep kill with your chain lightning as well as harassing the enemy, it makes the skill much more worthwhile.

Mid Game

Hopefully by now you have managed to farm your sacred relic or maelstrom components with little to no trouble. Now its time to hunt some heroes and make that money to buy the receipt. (pushing and getting tower kills will do to)

When killing with Medusa it is best to attack from behind the enemy. Stay at 600 range and see how many hits you can get in before they react. When they react, whether its attacking you or running, purge them. Purge also slows attack speed, which makes Medusa a good solo killer as well. If they look like they are about to get away and your last shots won't finish them off, run along side them while your purge cools down, when it does, purge them again and finish them off.

Never try to go after two heroes especially if on has a stun. Even if one of the heroes is in the yellow / red, you will be surprised what a little micro, and a stun can do - NEVER overestimate your opponent. (If one of the heroe's is in the low red and decides to hang around - by all means, purge and own that newb...)

Once you have finished radiance or maelstrom its time to do a bit of pushing, (or more killing if you wish) you will find that when you have one of these items you get almost all the creep kills in every wave, you will soon find yourself rich enough to buy those treads and the next item on your list. Also if you have any extra time on your hands stop by the big creep camps. With split shot and your fast attack, they go down pretty quickly.

Using split shot: Don't be lazy while using split shot, turn it on when there are more than three creeps, and turn it off afterwards. Also a good thing to do is turn on split shot and attack the ranged creep. This guarantees you will get at least one creep kill, and most likely you will get the melee creeps as well.

Try not to push so far that you will get ganked, unless you are with a teamate, and you are not Rambo do not try and take on multiple heroes by yourself, especially if you don't have your BKB and one of them has a disable.

[Misc tip if you have Euls] USE CYCLONE! It is a very good disable. You can even use this to your advantage in group battles, or to take out a low hero that is trying to stick to his friend. If there is a low hero (hopefully with no stuns) and you have your euls, and radiance / maelstrom but you dont want to run in because they are sticking to their friend. (with stuns) Just run in and immidiatly cylone his friend, purge your prey right after and get as many attacks in as you can. If you get at least one lightning shot in (with maelstrom), it will ensure his doom. Finish him of with a chain lightning if he dosent fall to your attack, (cyclone his friend again if necessary, dont be stingy with your cyclones) and after turn around and fight his friend. Nine times out of ten they will somehow think that taking out their ally has weakened you, or they will be mad that you killed their ally in cold blood right before them while they watched helplessly like a baby, and they will want to stay and fight......... DOUBLE KILL!!!

Late Game

By now you should at least have your Radiance / Maelstrom, BKB, and starting on guinsoos / skadi / or butterfly. Now its time to push with your teammates and try to end the game.

Fighting in team battles: Medusa's main role in team battles is to weaken all enemies with her split shot. In big battles turn on your BKB, toggle on your split shot and start attacking the enemies, you will find that you will end up with, multiple double and triple kills by the end of the game. Less experienced players will tell you splitshot sucks and not to use it on heroes. DON'T LISTEN TO THEM! Once you have good damage, splitshot works wonders on enemy heroes and they will just crap themselves when they dont realize you have it on in time and they all end up in red.

You can take most any hero one on one, but be wary of those who have many disables if you don't have BKB or Linkens, disables are Medusa's weakness, (like most heroes) and at this point in the game I would advise sticking with teammates to avoid unnecessary death.

[Another misc. tip for Euls users] Once you have gotten your Euls there is a sequence i like to do that will ensure you the kill.(at least on most agil/intell heros) What you do is go up to them from behind, (so when they run they run towards you) get one or two hits and immidiatly chain lightning them. If they turn to attack you see if they have more damage out put than you do, if they do purge them, if they dont save it for when they run. When they run try to purge them when you are within 300 distance of them to get the most attacks out of the purge as you can. When they are at 500-600 range from you, run at them and cyclone them. Wait till chain lightning and purge are both fully cooled down and purge them out of cyclone (yes purge them out, we dont want their partners gettting time to come save them) get a couple of more hits, and finish them off with another chain lightning.

5. Extras

Extended Splitshot Analysis/Formula:

Lets say you have an item that does 20 damage. When you turn on split shot you have three arrows each of which are shooting for 70 of Medusa's total damage. So the formula we would do is 20*.7=14 each arrow 14*3=42. So if you get the item that does 20 damage and use splitshot, you are adding 42 effective damage overall while using splitshot.

Say the same item that does 20 damage costs 1,000 gold, and we are trying to see if it will be a cost effective item to get for Medusa. The formula we would do is 1,000/20=50, wich means that for each point of damage you payed 50 gold, which would actually be very good if there was an item like this, because it would make it more cost-effective than the gg branch . But these two formulas are very simple math, and you can use them to determine which items are better than the others for medusa.

Heros To Watch Out For:

IPB ImageMagina: Although this one is obvious he is the first one on my list. Magina has always been a great hero to kill Medusa because of his mana break ability combined with his ultimate. So basically using your mana sheild against you, and when its drained using his ultimate to finish you off.

How to counter: Dont be in his lane early on, like i said early game deaths kill Medusa. Switch lanes or get a buddy with a disable to help you. If there is a good Magina in the game, you might want to go with the Guinsoo build, hex, along with purge will make sure he isnt getting alot of hits in to drain your mana, and as always, watch the minimap, MASTER IT. Dont let people surprise you with gank, always count your dots.

IPB ImageNaga Siren: This is less of a threat because you dont see as many siren players as magina players, but its still the same problem. Any good siren will go diffusal/manta, and when they do, your mana sheild is in critical danger.

How to counter:Again always watch your minimap and dont let them surprise you. You cannot counter siren the same way you counter magina, because of her many images, i suggest sticking around teamates that have aoe damage to let you determine wich one is the real siren, (not a hard task) or you can do it yourself. Turn on splitshot and shoot 2-3 arrows while holding 'alt' along with radiance it should be an easy task determining wich one is real, after wards just focus fire on the real siren, and hopefully with your high dmg output and her low hp, she will fall before you do. But in anycase stick with your teamates if you need support.

These are the BIG problems for Medusa, but also if early game your up against big early game hero killsers like Maiden, or Venomancer. Either get some regen or switch lanes. Don't be too proud or embarassed to ask you partners for a lane change, if you die too much early your game could be destroyed.

SplitShot Tips:

While attacking the creep wave, toggle on splitshot and attack the ranged creep. This way you are assured one creep kill, and you will usually get 2-3 of the melee creeps aswell, depending on how far along with your item build you are.

Also, although you think that going for neutral creeps is a waste there is a little trick with radiance to make it a quick and profitable experience. On the sentinal side there is a spot, right by the top entrance of the forest, where if you stand you can draw all creeps towards you, making money quick and easy.

The same works on the scourge side, but it is less profitable because you can only draw two creep camps at a time. Work on your timing so you can try to come, to the creep camp and lure some creeps away right as another one spawns, if you can do this succesfully you can easily get 500+ gold for about 20 second of farming, wich is not "neglecting your team by farming and not pushing" because with radiance farming takes no time at all.

While you are attacking a tower, activate splitshot, it will not only do a great deal of damage to the tower, but the creeps fighting yours will die, which allows for more time attacking the tower, not to mention the creep kills for you.

The Many Uses Of Purge:

We all know that purge slows opponents move speed, but what else does purge do?

First, it is very good at not only slowing a heros movement speed but slowing their attack speed, no matter if they are clinx and they have strafe on, they will start to attack very slowly. Use this to your advantage when you are taking out a hero with a high damage output.

Second, it is good at dispelling buffs, the ones that i know it dispells for sure, are Ursa's overpower, Sven's Godsstrength, and Broodmother's Ultimate. In addition it also dispells bad buffs. So not only can you save a teamate by purging an enemy thats chasing them, if they are in frostbite, have any type of slow on them, even if they are cycloned, be a good teamate and purge them. It will take the effect and will not slow your teamate like it does the enemy.

Third, you can use it to destroy summons. If you are up against a Phantom Lancer, or Naga Siren, or Terror Blade, you can use purge to instantly rid yourself of some confusion. As well as if you are up against a Prophet, or Enigma you can kill their summons with purge. Also whether intended or not, if you are up against a keeper player, and they are annoying you by pushing with their ult, purge their Ignius Fatus. It will instantly destroy it and all the summons.

Fourth, it bypasses all magic immunit, BKB, Jugg's bladstorm. Whatever they throw at you, you will be able to purge them. So use this to your advantage.

Fifth, you can purge yourself!!! Did that Axe player just put battle hunger on you? Are you forced to run even when Bloodseekers ultimate is on you? Purge yourself! You will take of all affects instantly

Sixth, and maybe the most important, PURGE CAN REMOVE EYES IN THE FOREST!!! Much cheaper than buying tangos, and will make this skill for treant totally useless.

Advanced Mana Sheild Analysis:

So the question is, we know mana shield will take half the damage, but how much will actually be done to it, and will armor/magic resistance help?

Well i bellieve mana sheild works like this. The damage hits you and is immidatly divided by two. (armor and magic resist still hasent occured) The mana sheild will obsorb two points of mana for each point of damage done to the sheild. Then the other half goes to life. (and finally the armor and magic resist are taken into account, before the damage is done the the life)

So say you have a 300 damage nuke. 1000 hp and 500 mana. You would end up with 888 hp and 425 mana. (mana takes damage before magic resist - 150 damage done (divided by 2 = 75), and hp takes damage with magic resist - 112 damage done)

So this means that armor and magic resist will not help your mana sheild last longer, only mana/mana regen items.

6. Conclusion

So in conclusion, Medusa can still be almost as powerful as she was in 5.84 if you play her right. She is not an easy character most of the time to play, but she has so much potential and she can adapt to many different situations. Plus she is one of (if not the) best farmers in the game. In fact most games I find myself at the end of my build and having a rapier in my inventory! All it takes is a little practice and patience at the beginning of the game, and I'm sure you will enjoy playing with Medusa.

All feedback/Comments are welcome. Back up your comments with explanations and do not post your mini-guide in here. If you want to make a Medusa guide, However, replays of you using my build efficiently are welcome.

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